England's city of Manchester will host the prestigious PSA Men's World Open Squash Championship in 2013, it was announced today.
Manchester follows Rotterdam, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City as recent locations for the sport's leading individual championship, staged under the auspices of the Professional Squash Association (PSA), which will be held at the National Squash Centre from 26 October to 3 November.
The announcement was made at a media briefing this morning held at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, attended by Englishmen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop, the two-time world champion and current world number one, respectively.
"The outstanding success of English squash on the world stage continues to attract the attention of the international community," said England Squash & Racketball Chief Executive Nick Rider. "The chance to host the World Championships endorses Manchester as a world leading centre for excellence providing elite coaching and facilities of the highest standard.
"ESR has reaped many rewards, from the dedication of the network of volunteers and professional staff at grass roots level through to the expertise of our National coaches. This accolade is testament to their work and passion for continued success."
The Men's World Open will form an important part of next year's PSA World Tour programme. Alex Gough, Chief Executive of the PSA, said: "We are delighted to be working again with England Squash & Racketball and Manchester City Council on another World Open. After they did such a magnificent job in 2008 we are very excited about this event.
"The sport has made some great strides in the last few years since the last edition in Manchester and there are some new amazing rivalries developing in the game that we hope will make this Championship a great one."
The Men's World Open Squash Championship is the latest in a series of high-profile international events to be held in the City since the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
Eamonn O'Rourke, Head of Community and Cultural Services, Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester is the centre of squash in the UK and we are excited to be welcoming the World's best squash players back to the city. I am sure that the Men's World Championships will be a major highlight on the sporting calendar for 2013.
"On top of this, Manchester residents can look forward to a pre-season NBA basketball exhibition game and action in the Rugby League World Cup, making 2013 another great year for sport in the city.
"As ever, we are proud of our track record for delivering successful events that contribute to our sports development programmes across the city and squash is a fine example of how this works to stimulate grass-roots participation."
News that Great Britain has attracted another world-class tournament was welcomed by UK Sport, whose Director of Major Events and International Relations Simon Morton said: "UK Sport is delighted to have helped win the rights to host these championships as part of our on-going work to bring world class events to this country. These are the fifth World Championships that we've helped secure in the last 12 months, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to establish the UK as a leading host of major events.
"Our National Lottery investment of £295,000 will ensure that the UK is able to host an event that benefits from the legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, whilst helping to prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow."
World champion Nick Matthew, whose duel for world supremacy with fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop has done much to promote the quality of England's Performance Programme, added: "The World Open is the biggest title in the game and hosting it on home soil will allow us to build on the current momentum squash is creating in the UK and showcase it to a wider global audience.
"It has been an honour to be crowned World Champion on two occasions and I would dearly love to reach Manchester as defending champion. The World Championships in Manchester will also play a massive part in proving squash's credentials for an Olympic spot in 2020."
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